thestoryofmeaningfuluse

A Magazine Capturing the Story of Health- For People, Environment, Economy & Habitat

CSR: New Business Opportunities Through Social Commitment

CSR: New Business Opportunities Through Social Commitment.

Republished from Juan’s – Business with Common Sense

 

 

 

 

by Juan Villamayor

@juanvillamayor41

14/02/2012 at 13:45 Leave a comment

Poster “Don’t stop, come to the Raval”

The recession is hitting Spain very hard. We are reaching an unemployment rate of almost 25% and many small business have to close.

However, there is room for good news and hope too. In Barcelona, several bars and shops located in the district of Raval have started a very nice initiative to offer products and services to unemployed people at lower prices ,with discounts of up to 50%. This initiative takes place on Tuesdays, a traditionally quiet, slow day for business.

These small bars and shops are showing social engagement and, at the same time, they have found a new business opportunity. They are not only attracting customers on a slow day like Tuesdays, they are also revitalizing the neighborhood with their promotion: the street is also more visited the rest of the week. At the end of the day, everybody benefits from it: the businesses, the unemployed people and the neighborhood.

This is a very good example of how SMEs can benefit from CSR in terms of the generation of new business opportunities. Pure shared value creation. Business With Common Sense.

One of the bars offering the promotion
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Taking the Bite out of Apple – Defining the Future Inquiry

Taking the Bite out of Apple TSOMU Series -Part 3 of 3

This 3 part series looks at 3 perspectives of the cost to people in the manufacturing of Apple Products

Accountability for What? Constructing the 3rd Pillar – Social Sustainability

• Steve and Laurene Powell Job’ Legacy

• Defining the Future Inquiry

 https://thestoryofmeaningfuluse.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/weissman_liavina_120x1791.jpg?w=270

By Lavinia Weissman

@wecarehealth54545454545454

New York, New York

Community Solutions

“Is there some mystical reason why an innocent person becomes the target of evil? Of course not. People who talk about the karma of victims as if some hidden fact is bringing down the rain of destruction are speaking from ignorance.”

Deepak Chopra

Steve Jobs, in his life-time, had personally mastered the vision of living a life of life-long learning. He translated his vision into the design and manufacturing of products that can be adopted as the most power enablers to make this possible.

By large, as a society of people of any means, we cannot move beyond ignorance if we cloister ourselves from the world of learning. Jobs constructed a vision of the ICloud so that from anyplace, anytime with any device people can synch and learn to solve the problems they face everyday at home and for what they do for work.

Recently,  Sustainability, CSR and Accountability experts have focused on the cost to humans of how Apple products are manufactured; it is an interesting direction in my mind to see that the Jobs technical legacy has constructed a technical platform that is so critical to creating a framework for the human interaction that can embed social sustainability in society and culture today.

This platform enables the publication and production of media that works in a cloud where individuals can shape their personal learning by vocation or the way they live to take that learning and solve problems with others that can be formed into community solutions of any kind. Laurene Powell Jobs, during her husbands final days, guided him to find the peace that he had not found inside himself and with others before his death by supporting him to articulate this vision.

Walter Isaacson, Job’s biographer, provided a most complete story capture of conversations with  President Obama, Bill Gates (Philanthropist), and the technical leaders of Silicon Valley global companies, in just a few conversations that could create a picture of this vision for these leaders to act on, if they chose.

The story that  Isaacson  offers  is fundamental in my mind  to launching a new thought leadership in practice. I see this story line as part of a briefing for launching a learning  community that focused on creating the educational framework from which people can build a system of response to heal poverty and economy of debt and lack, I don’t see how we will create the system by which to full benefit of the power of this technical platform.

Basic to forming this kind of learning community, the convening team that sorts out the launch, the invitation and to convene the community needs to an  economy model and hub to support its formation and translation into local scale that mentors the participants into a form of knowledge and emotional intelligence that can translate vision into action and lasting form.

This community can become a forum or hub that represents and attracts the attention of leading educators that I have written about that include John Sexton, President of NYU and Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC. Sexton and Hrabowski are calling for the formation of a new educational format where portals of learning provide the architecture to the students all around the world to solve problems drawing from the best of humanities, science and technology that inspires a new experience of thought and engagement for anyone who joins in this form of learning that is sustainable.

How does this fit with Jobs Vision?

In Jobs final days of conversation with his biographer, Walter Isaacson, Jobs noted that Apple was a great company like HP, Intel, and Disney, because it was built to matter and live beyond simply a purpose of the founders developing an IPO to go public so the founders can leave and cash in. The literature shows that HP, Intel, Disney and Apple have lasted out and emerged from failure out of learning and a commitment to make a difference.

Jobs went on to say that when these companies get off course, that is the real cost.   Inn my opinion the cost to humans  associated with these companies. This is about a from of  sustainability that respects profit and people in balance.

At present, the complexity of engagement and the state of the world economically and the perpetuation of poverty, building companies to last in this way is not sufficient to insure a health global economy for people, planet and profit. In a consumptive society, the production of products, organization of services and innovation are often developed with a regard for building the most attractive product features and benefits.

Jobs talent for doing this in a very Zen like manner resulted in meeting the needs of talent beginning with the graphic design community with the launch of the Mac and reshaping and defining a “Mac Lifestyle” by 2004, that had the Apple products represent and associate with a lifestyle of promise rather, distinguishing Mac from Windows based products that have been tools of productivity.

Facebook and Linkedin.com have entered the global market affording a market of communication that is accessible to millions of people for free, supported by the sale of apps and advertising. However, these global gathering social media complexes do not have the substantive architecture that is basic to reshaping local economies of people where the needs of the people in local community are put ahead first so they can move beyond poverty and learn within their communities to sustain.

Talking on a platform does not provide the financial resources that insure the health and success of these projects to sustain.

I believe the forthcoming generation of learning and inquiry has to expand beyond the view of business as usual from a community and local economy perspective beyond the limitations of institutional views.

Who Belongs in this Inquiry?

In the tradition of view of economic development projects have always been like Microsoft organized as a fragmented vertial channel to solve a problem, e.g. foster more innovation to create more jobs; bringing costly pharmaceutical treatment to 3rd world countries. The problem identified to solve is in some regard a task.

  • The first step is to invite local communities to join in regions where there are problems associated with global companies that foster human injustice, e.g. Shell Oil in Nigeria, BP Gulf Oil Spill, Apple Human Costs to Manufacturing in China;
  • Begin by convening and analyzing the most basic needs of people impacted by this harm and providing them a stable infrastructure from which they can learn , work and live is a new form of inquiry that will begin to create a new form of mastery of quality of life for people in the locales through which they live and work;
  • This implies participation from the companies and governments in these locales where other distinct problems can be solved like the lack of industry or any sustainable economy, similar to what has been shaped for Rancho Petacal in Mexico by Roberto Vargas Marciel, Maher Ashram in Pune, India by Sister Lucy or the Honey Bee Network led by Anil Gupta, the first Pew Research Fellow;
  • Critical to the success of these projects, funding sources need to come from all sectors of participation, philanthropic foundations and where possible contributions from the local communities of people, who build these community by building a local economy of goods and services that aligned with the culture of location.

Taking the Bite Out of Apple

Accountability experts in sustainability and corporate sustainability have been steered over the last 3 decades since the issue of the Brundtland Commission Report in 1987 to continue the norm of how investors and corporations approach markets using a vertical channel approach.

It’s ironic at this time that Steve Jobs, founder and leader of the most successful company, Apple – in his final year of life called on great leaders to outline his integral view of life drawing on Edwin Land passion for integrating humanities and science to integrate into technological development.

Spiritual Leader J. Krishnamurti who inspired Physicist David Boehm from this view as well. Boehm in his writing pointed to the value of inquiry and dialogue as the path to creating a culture that embedded the most fundamental respect for what it means to be a human being.

At this years World Economic Forum gathering global leaders and private citizens from around the world left the meeting challenged to address the growing harm of poverty and harm to people.

This opens the door to the greatest challenge accountability experts have ahead for them – shifting accountability to defining and measuring sustainable metrics that serve people and local economy.

The 1984 launch of Apple Computer was in synch with the creation of the Brundtland Commission.  How ironic that Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder has left a legacy  to solve the most challenging and controversial problems associated with Apple by gathering with a small group of leaders, mostly personal friends to define the opportunity that technology implies to education and the change that this implies to all our approaches to education from how we educate children in schools to higher learning to the restructuring of how adults learn life long to sustain within their communities local economy.

_______

Author’s Bio: Lavinia Weissman is sustainable leadership coach, health advocate, capacity builder, and publisher/editor-in-chief of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com.

For More information on Lavinia’s Coaching, Workshops and Presentations or to obtain an invitation to Monday Circle or Prayer Community Conference,

Contact Adriana Hill in the US by phone 516.204.6791 or at mydestinyjourney ampersand gmail.com.

Taking the Bite out of Apple – Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs’ Legacy

Taking the Bite out of Apple TSOMU Series -Part 2 of 3

This 3 part series looks at  3 perspectives of the cost to people in the manufacturing of Apple Products.

  • Accountability for What? Constructing the 3rd Pillar – Social Sustainability
  • Steve  and Laurene Powell Job’ Legacy
  • Defining the Future Inquiry

 https://thestoryofmeaningfuluse.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/weissman_liavina_120x1791.jpg?w=270

By Lavinia Weissman

@wecarehealth54545454545454545454545454545454545454545454545454        

New York, New York

The Wholistic View

 

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in every thing. That is how the light gets in.”

Leonard Cohen

If one looks outside of Steve Jobs leadership and performance at Apple as CEO, and follow a very complete story of his life, work and his final days, I believe the picture painted if very different than what is described in the business press.

Jobs contact with people outside the context of running a company contains within it the  legacy Steve left behind supported by his wife Laurene Powell Jobs, that are an interesting foundation for building a “social sustainable agenda” described in Part 1 of this series. Time will only prove if this vision can translate into community solutions aligned with Laurene Powell Jobs current vocation.

Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, was selected to by Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs to be Jobs, biographer. The book, simply titled, Steve Jobs. Completely atypical of Jobs, he and Laurene both gave full control over the  book and the content to Isaacson. Jobs in his final days asked for final say on the artwork for the cover.

This book is a composite of the story of the history of Apple as Jobs and others crafted it, the products that resulted from Jobs vision, the meanderings of Silicon Valley ups and downs influenced by the MBA Venture Community and ultimately how Jobs as a visionary and innovator powerfully drove his agenda to build Apple as the strongest multinational company based headquartered in Silicon Valley.

Jobs informed Isaacson, “I think you are good at getting people to talk.” This is why Jobs selected him as his biographer.  Steve and Laurene wanted the book to relay the real story that included Steve’s failing and success.  They wanted the truthful story. Even Steve in his candid conversations with Isaacson saw his own personality flaws, which may have been unnecessary.

For fans of the history of Silicon Valley from a technical view, you will have to read the book that captures a rich history of all companies that sit side by side with Apple and the influence of the cast of characters from Larry Ellison of Oracle, Gil Amelio of NEC and Apple, John Scully and more. Isaacson true to form studied the man, the culture that surrounded the man and the family from which he grew and in the end helped him make peace.

The Silicon Valley and Apple Corporation that I knew emerged to be number 1 after my downsizing research in the late 80′s predicted it would be Apple, Sun or IBM.

Unlike Sun Microsystem and IBM, Jobs crafted with his products a vision of creating an Apple lifestyle, but in the final chapter of his legacy with his wife he began to create a global lifestyle through conversations  with his wife  Laurene and his final conversation with Bill Gates in May 2011 before his death in October.

Isaacson’s talent for asking “the why after the what,” helped me make see this new form legacy that is socially sustainable, that Laurene is now making her focus.

While the business press offered consistent final reports, e.g. Thomas Friedman, that  when Obama inquired about bring back jobs to the US for IPhone and other Apple products,  Jobs replied,  “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”  Friedman was one of many that reported this based on secondary research.

Isaacson captured 40 interviews with Jobs, dating back to 1984, when Isaacson was at Time Magazine and drew from more than 115 people and interviews and secondary research for this book. This is where the story behind how Jobs meeting with Obama in Silicon Valley’s story behind the story begins to open inquiry on the legacy that Jobs crafted in the final 10 months before his death.

Hidden in this story is the non technical legacy that Jobs could see that integrated a view of humanities and science with his genius capacity to design the leading technology and thought that captured Apple’s market today.

Laurene’s Added Spark
In 2010, Laurene Powell Jobs joined the White House Council for Community Solutions. At the most recent, State of the Union Address, by President Obama, she was introduced as the founder of Emerson Collective which she has directed to focus on underserved communities to better lives and in her role with the White House Council for Community Solutions she advises the President on how to mobilize and involve each sector from a true capacity building point of view on how to concretely address specific community needs.

Fall 2010, Laurene advised her friends at the White House that include John Doerr, Venture Capitalist and then at a meeting for President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board that Obama needed to hear Steve Jobs point of view on why the US had lost its edge.  With help from the Jobs son, Reed, who was attending Stanford, Laurene was able to convince Steve to join Obama in a private 45 minutes meeting in October 2010.

No Holds Barred

In his book, Isaacson reported that Jobs told Obama at their private in October 2010, that Obama had to become morbusiness friendly and make  it easier for business to open factories in the US over China that he was headed for a one term Presidency.  Here is was indicating a need to reduce regulation and unnecessary costs.  Jobs then asserted that even bigger obstacle was the American education system as antiquated due to unionization of workers and teachers.  There was a need to revamp the entire system, beginning with defining the role of the teacher and improving the status of teachers.

By the end of the meeting, Jobs offered to put together a group of 6-7 CEO’s together to converse with Obama and examine how the US government was obstructing innovation.  Jobs idea was to create this as a dinner and conversation. The White House almost derailed the meeting, trying to turn it into a major event of 20 ore more CEO’s, including  GE’s  Jeffrey Immelt.  Jobs made clear his terms and the agenda and format were recovered and given Jobs assumed control.

Over a dinner at Palo Alto’s Greek Restaurant, Evita of 12 included Carol Bartz (Yahoo), John Chambers (Cisco), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Art Levinson (Genetech), Eric Schmidt (Google) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) with Obama, Jobs and White House Staff, Valerie Jarret and John Doerr.

Isaacson writes that Jobs began the dinner conversation by stating, “Regardless of our political persuasions, I want you to know that we’re here to do whatever you ask to help our country.”  While this prompted proposals and suggestions, starting with John Chambers idea for a tax proposal.  Zuckerberg was heard to lean over to Obama’s aide Valerie Jarret and point out they were all there to help the President and wanted to know from him, what he needed.

John Doerr and Jobs returned the discussion to the focus and Jobs indicated that America had to educate and train more engineers.  In China today 700,000 workers are need on site support from 30,000 engineers and Apple simply has no resources of that talent to hire here in the US.
This pointer caught Obama’s attention and while Jobs was in the final phase of his own journey, he pointed out if America (Obama) can train the engineers Apple would bring back manufacturing to the US.

Isaacson’s ability to interview and capture the full story is quite different than the business press reporting the short sentence. Yes it is true,  at the present time, Apple cannot bring manufacturing back to the US. And yes,  if America addresses its most critical problem – our educational system’s inability to produce enough engineers, Jobs committed to bring manufacturing back.

While this is a story capture of Isaacson’s book (in red) that are taken from the book.  Pardon me with breaking from the tradition of footnoting with the limitations of blogging.

Isaacson has opened the door to integrating a story that values all 3 pillars of view for sustainability that can not be constructed without opening a conversation and inquiry that examines issues from the 3 perspectives that Jobs drew from his study of Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid; these persepctives are about creating a balance of view drawing from humanities, science and technology.

From my studies on dialogue and inquiry, I learned something similar from the perspective of David Boehm, Physicist. Boehm often pointed out based on his studies with spiritual teacher, Krishnamurti, that he learned that building trust to innovate change and evolve culture cannot be built without building into our conversations practice that appreciate these 3 elements (humanities, science and technology).

This invites my readers to join me for next and final post. This poises the question of how we alter our view of education integrating the vision and forecast for education that Steve Jobs shared with Bill Gates before he died.
Stay tuned  for Part 3 – Defining the Future Inquiry that describes this opportunity and a history of dress rehearsals that failed. Is it time to launch this as a community of practice within the UNGC?

 _______

Author’s Bio:

Lavinia Weissman is sustainable leadership coach, health advocate, capacity builder, and publisher/editor-in-chief of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com.

For More information on Lavinia’s Coaching, Workshops and Presentations or to obtain an invitation to Monday Circle or Prayer Community Conference,

Contact Adriana Hill  in the US by phone 516.204.6791 or  at mydestinyjourney ampersand gmail.com.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Taking the Bite out of Apple – Accountability for What?


Taking the Bite out of Apple TSOMU Series -Part 1 of 3

This 3 part series looks at  3 perspectives of the cost to people in the manufacturing of Apple Products.

  • Accountability for What? Constructing the 3rd Pillar – Social Sustainability
  • Steve  and Laurene Powell Jobs’ Legacy
  • Defining the Future Inquiry

 https://thestoryofmeaningfuluse.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/weissman_liavina_120x1791.jpg

By Lavinia Weissman

@wecarehealth545454545454545454545454545454545454        

New York, New York


 

Earlier this month, Apple filed its first 2012 Supplier Responsibility Report, Elaine Cohen, an expert on sustainability reporting gave her attention to this report immediately in her CSRWire TalkBack column, ITransparency: Is Apple Catching Up,  praised Apple for the quality of disclosure reflected in the report. And at the same time with her tongue and cheek humor, Is there an App for That? Asking if there is a solution to the years of complicity in a host of human rights abuses and violations within Apple’s supply chain.

Charles Duhigg and Charles Barboza captured in detail the story of these abuses and an overview of the complicity between Apple, the small manufacturers and the multinational corporations that comprise the Apple supply chain in their NYTimes article, In China, Apple and Human Costs are Built Into the IPad .

This article portrayed up close and personal the harm to ordinary people, with normal motivations, e.g. working to have a family, buy a home and live in a society what workforce practices are dictated by the supply and demand for labor based on expertise, where product demand exceeds what is humanly possible to produce and where occupational and safety standards and wage regulations are ignored.

These stories make the corporate way clear, if an employee cannot step up to the demands of an employer at the cost of their health – mind and body, , the solution is to simply let this human cost go by and fill that job with others waiting in line for the job.  Employers show no understanding of the principle of “do no harm,” described in the Earth Charter’s Principle 6, the Precautionary Principle.

Absent from these reports is a view of issues that merit attention from a societal view on what it means to be human and build a practice of sustainability embedding the missing 3rd pillar, social sustainability.”

The Implied Hope of Social Sustainability

The Brundtland Commission Report in 1987 ignited the csr and sustainability movement offering the framework of the 3 P’s – People, Planet and Profit along side the framework of the 3 E’s – Environment, Economy and Equity.

Attention to people and equity have become a missing pillar of the sustainability movement.  In 2002, the Johannesburg Conference stressed that the integration of 3 dimensions could only be built out from a foundation of humane equitable and caring global society at the present time and for future generations.

Recently the Swedish Government and Sodotorn Univeristy funded Magnus Bostrom, Department of Life Sciences, Sodertorn University and his colleagues to ascertain the state of challenge to embedding social sustainability into society and culture. Bostrom’s summary report, A missing pillar, Challenges in theorizing and practicing social sustainability, is  the introductory article to the Winter 2012 issue of Sustainability, Science, Practice and Policy, a global journal based in Washington DC.

According to Bostrom there are two obstacles to embedding social sustainability in sustainability development.

  1. By nature of the theory and thought leadership is fluid and falls behind the concrete approaches to repair the  environment and economic agenda;
  2. In practice, social dimensions attract less attention and are far more challenging to operationalize and incorporate into projects and planning.

Bostrom identifies the substantive and procedural aspects of social sustainability which present another layer of complexity in terms of adoption and governance which is very aligned with the challenges outlined in the 2010 10 year review of the UN Global Compact by the UN Joint Inspection Unit in Geneva, Switzerland.  This report identifies the challenges ahead for its 7700 members to address through its own governance and applying what is learned with a much greater impact beyond the current penetration of

The Brundtland Commission Report in 1987 inspired the hope that the world leaders would embed an agenda people with the promise of recognition of human needs addressed in a kinder way.  Three decades of focus on the sustainable agenda have pushed these issues to the back burner, resulting in teh acceleration of  poverty and injustice as the wealthy 1% control the economy without regard for the other 99%.

Is there a different approach to addressing this agenda taking form outside the engagement of institutions focused on practices of accountability, governance and transparency.

Could it be in his final six months of life, Steve Jobs inspired by his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs created the legacy to spark and innovate a social sustainable agenda through personal conversation with friends?

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs Legacy to Apple and the World

 _______

Author’s Bio:

Lavinia Weissman is sustainable leadership coach, health advocate, capacity builder, and publisher/editor-in-chief of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com.

For More information on Lavinia’s Coaching, Workshops and Presentations or to obtain an invitation to Monday Circle or Prayer Community Conference,

Contact Adriana Hill  in the US by phone 516.204.6791 or  at mydestinyjourney ampersand gmail.com.

 

Lavinia Weissman

PeerIndex54
AUTHORITY 56
ACTIVITY 62
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corporate social responsibility, climate change, green business, philosophy, capitol hill
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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No Child Left Behind: Can Business Step In?

Can corporate social responsibility help bridge the gap between educational empowerment and economic stability?

By Lavinia Weissman

@WeCareHealth545454

New York, New York

original date of publication in CSRWireTalkback 01 December 2011


The redefining “No Child Left Behind” act was passed exactly ten years ago on January 8, 2002.  Today, however, there is real question on its value.

The EdWeek.com performance in review puts it succinctly.

So “What does it really mean to leave no child behind; and is this a social issue that can be addressed by CSR?”

There is no denying that the future performance of our workforce depends on the quality of education available to our kids. That the U.S. has fallen behind in assuring access and funding for quality education is not news either.

Educational Standards: Are We Up For the Challenge?

Current curriculum and education standards do not assure the best possible education to prepare our kids for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), let alone help them embed this knowledge into careers that provide sustainable value.

In an economy where jobs are scarce, corporations believe that they are at an advantage, perpetuating the idea that there is not enough competent talent. To build the best workforce possible, CSR principles must be embedded in all aspects of the STEM curriculum. And EMC’s Kathrin Winkler isn’t the only one endorsing this.

The Role of STEM in Sustainability…

Ellen Weinreb’s recent research in CSO Back Story revealed that several of the country’s sustainability chiefs have educational backgrounds in STEM, helping them become critical, system thinkers.

Part of the challenge in insuring that a future workforce is prepared for careers in sustainability lies in integrating the foundational values of CSR with a set of values based around work. Consider, for example, the Swedish word for “work”Narings Liv. Literally translated, it means “work that nourishes you for life”—a value system that should be at the heart of the CSR movement.

By integrating this value into our work culture, companies could examine a new system for defining work—one that could be translated into a functional educational system for children and adults.

It is time to declare an opening to an examination of workforce values and the question of how we prepare young people to sustain themselves both through their work and when they cannot work.

…or WorkEcology

I see this as a creation of a CSR workforce eco-system that I describe as WorkEcology. We know that our current employment systems, workforce development and all that this implies—including benefits and compensation—are broken.

The tradition of education for employment and professional development is no longer a sustainable model. We know that it no longer assures ongoing professional development, wages that assure a sustainable lifestyle, or support of benefits that assure protection for disability, health care and retirement.

In preparing a young person for the realities of this kind of world, what kind of work are we preparing them for? What system of education will meet those needs? And how can corporations that advocate corporate social responsibility serve that preparation?

From Thought Leadership to Practice

As part of my thinking on these questions, I have begun mentoring a gifted 11 year old young woman, who is motivated and passionate about biology and other disciplines in science. Together we have uncovered a range of topics for discussion from bullying and dumbing-down to negativity and claiming personal power.

Thanks to Disney’s ABC Studios and my affection for Extreme Makover, we watched episodes about how to heal and counteract bullying, and I began to introduce her to the power of social media at its best as an educational tool.

At a New Year’s Eve party, my friend was put to the test. Overhearing her talk about global warming, a man in his late 40s approached her and, in front of the party crowd,  informed her that her passion for global warming was useless, and that there was no definitive evidence.

Explaining CSR to an Adolescent

As I listened to this young woman the following day, I realized that all I could do for her is what I do in my career—provide a bit of education to inspire her, and identify networks of educational resources that will inspire her self-esteem and learning.

I pointed her to:

Where can this investment come from?

A 2011 Standard and Poor’s analysis featured in the Wall Street Journal reported a total of $1.08 Trillion in corporate cash reserves.

Can corporations redirect a portion of their cash reserves and philanthropic foundation investment to assure no child is left behind and moves into a narings liv approach to work?

What would this imply for human resources, educational institutions and financial approaches to funding and sustaining access to quality STEM education that embeds sustainability and CSR?

Readers: Can social organizations and business effectively target No Child Left Behind by investing in  organizational design,  academic curriculum and targetting funding to educational institutions?

Women’s Secrets on the Economic Battlefield

A Systemic View

By Lavinia Weissman

@wecarehealth54545454545454545454

New York, New York

“We seek only to give words

to those who cannot speak

(too may women in too many countries)

I seek only to forget

The sorrows of my grandmothers

Silence”

 

– Anasuya Sengupta,  India

Last week, I offered a post (part 1) in a private subscribed conference,  Monday Circle of Prayer, Walking About Rather than Walking From.  It focused on a more personal experience with respect to how women cope with the realization they have no choice but to walk away from dysfunctional employment and other related activities and what that implies.

This article is a  second installment to that reflective inquiry from a more systemic view of women’s participation in the workforce.

Part 2- A Systemic View – When Walking Away is Your Only Alternative

It has been 30 years since, Gro Harlem Brundtland, M.D., launched the sustainability movement by convening the Brundtland Commission Inquiry in cooperation with the United Nations.  One of the worlds most remarkable female leaders, Dr. Brundtland is the former prime minister of Norway and former Executive Director of the World Health Organization and continues her work out of the United Nations community to this day.

What is happening for women in the economic system in which the work of the Brundtland Commission dialogue was to influence change?

A company culture that embeds corporate social responsibility implies that this culture has worked or is working on issues of transparency and materiality that invite an end to secrets. To assure acceleration of the women’s agenda in the workplace, this is a solid beginning but one has to ask why with such remarkable leadership among women, is this movement so slow to accelerate?

 

Conditions for Women Today

A few years back, I came to recognize living a life of spirit and faith was also key and not engaging dysfunction. As the economy became more challenged, I found myself on a battlefield of toxicity for work that has brought me to a downward spiral that many health people share with me.

On an ongoing basis, I am reminded of how exceptional women have been good at retaining secrets from public view, e.g. health, marital abuse and discrimination in the workplace to a degree of complicity that underlies why there is so little progress for women in a country that has complicated the lives of so many now by the cost of education, the diminished number of jobs available and the increasing number of jobs available for a wage that no one can live on, let alone support children.

Somehow in the United States, women forgot to speak for and in support of their peers. The spiritual movement in the US grew into a focus of self-care and personal intention and the issues that trapped or harmed so many were forgotten that can compromise any woman’s health or access to education.   We make people personally responsible to heal the obstruction and wounds that have been imposed on them that they did not cause.

Living and working in this kind of environment can result in the adoption of behavior that is dysfunctional when we feel all we can do I fight back on the battlefield by declaring war or simply protest. Some woman cannot free themselves for socio-economic reasons and need access to constructive options of employment, education and housing, especially if they have children.  They need a form of protection that can overcome the harm they had to endure personally or to their children if they speak up or make the “secret known.”

For me this week, I can own the cost of freeing myself from walking away from systems of obstruction and not looking back to my Sodom and Gomorrah.

For many years, more than I care to think, I have found the courage to walk forward with my wisdom and my eyes to in minutes note an elephant in the room that is not right.  I like many offer compassion and no remedy and keep walking or support as I can. This week, I became very clear, I will not perpetuate or enable anymore secrets and I will not engage in any conversations that bring me into a form of triangulation that perpetuates the secrete. Yet as women in this country we continue to perpetuate secrets and to me this has become as harmful as keeping the secret.

Over the past 3 decades there emerged a new set of systemic challenges at a rate of acceleration that the Earth Charter and UN Global Compact Principles have been designed to counter act all this.

These systemic challenges have form into many secrets that can become the ground of a battlefield of tension and obstruction we cannot speak about in public. For a few who experience this they have the protection of wealth, position or marriage to reduce the harm, but the wounds from these battles can be life long.  I know this personally and discovered I was not alone in this experience in a very pronounced way in 2004.

The Hidden Story

In 2004, I attend a private by invitation meeting in Boston, attended by over 200 women who had MBA’s and worked successfully in the Financial Service industry. Success in this instance is equated with title and financial success. Most of these women were graduates of a top 10 MBA programs. This particular program by 2004, had over 900 female graduates working in industry.

As a journalist and business writer my invitation was extended with a strong request for non-disclosure. This group wanted my participation and I had to promise not to report any panelist personal story or report on the overall event to a public audience.

What I can say now is that the meeting focused on report from Catalyst, a non-profit established in 1962 that conducts research on the progress for women in business. The 2004 Catalyst presentation focused on the question,  “Why fewer than 7% of women had advanced to C-level positions in the Fortune 2000?”

This report has popularized and been presented to a public view over and over again. What I did not expect was to listen to testimony of female leaders in the financial industry that offered “secrets.” These secrets included that 85% of the panelists suffered from chronic illness and had compromised life circumstances that led to the deterioration of their own health when they are parents, elderly caregivers, or witnessed first hand corruption.

A panelist at the time of the conference was working in venture capital investments. She reported that she had witnessed when employed by a securities firm of fame,  an “indiscretion.” Her husband’s response to her was, “Resign immediately.  I am glad I can support us and assure your resignation with dignity because you don’t have to work.”  She also indicated her resignation was just on time to see her husband through his own health challenges while caring for her young children at home, which she was not anticipating and needed the freedom of her own company. She ended her presentation stating, “I do not know what single women did to protect themselves from this kind of association by employment?”

The most dramatic presentation was last from a woman of status and achievement in the financial service industry, who announced that she let her career destroy her life – marriage, relationship with her children and friends. This is not news.  How many articles and reports have there been through the years on women who sacrificed a “life” for “career.I found comfort in recognizing and end to my ongoing feeling of an isolated experience.  I had just met women like me who had lived through similar experiences.

I noticed by the end of the event that women,  I respected the most was no longer employed in industry, but served industry.  These women structured their businesses so they no longer had to personally absorb or perpetuate harmful corporate behavior they could not control.

Forbes journalist, Meghan Casserly wrote, Millennial Women Are Burning Out by 30, Great for Business.  This is truly not news. Casserly points out more women are becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own companies as an alternative.  In my experience the women succeeding are doing that with the education and knowledge of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. What does that imply to women today?

As someone, who has worked at the frontier of sustainability and csr, for nearly two decades, I have seen the freedom that these woman claimed that was across the board empowered by family and friends. It was clear to me if you did not have that kind of support, it was a long hard road with no guarantee for successful outcome.

Is Change Possible?

 

Elaine Cohen, a recognized authority on HR and corporate reporting in the movement of change for Corporate Social Responsibility, recently reviewed Women and the New Business Leadership by Peninah Thomson with Tom Lloyd.

Thomas and Lloyd reported that one mentee interviewed pointed out

” Women tend to want to get everything on the table, because they
believe it is only when all the sometimes painful facts are on the table
that the truth of the matter can emerge “

This fits with my view that  “women rarely want to disregard the “elephant in the room.” Yet we have appeared to often organize our view of the most “difficult,” as a secret.

I believe until women find a spiritual foundation and new form of strength that has them begin to see strife as strife of many rather than getting lost in their own strife to intend a miracle of repair. This is critical as a principle of uniting and forming a credible movement of change from which to claim their power and influence the acceleration of change.

I do not see this happening as rapidly  without women learning to weave networks in which they can safely claim their power and also generate solutions to generations of abuse and harm to their health and economic status and social position that no one asks to be imposed on them.

Margaret Wheatley, a leadership thought leader and change agent, points out how critical it is for any change agent (man or woman) to exercise perseverance.  In her book titled Perseverance she writes:

“Perseverance is a discipline—it’s a day-by-day decision not to give up.  Therefore, we have to notice the moments when we feel lost or overwhelmed or betrayed or exhausted and note how we respond to them.  And we have to notice the rewarding times, when we experience the joy of working together on something hard but worthwhile, when we realize we’ve made a small difference.

A Personal Action Plan

I know many competent, leadership quality women, who did not chose the adversity that was imposed on them.  Often the only solution for them was to accept roles of care giving, patient or simply walk away from a job to protect their health.  They wisely recognized that to envision repair and change for a scale of outreach that goes beyond what they can know personally and it implied now walking away, but walking in a high degree of uncertainty with perseverance to form something new for which there was no guarantee of outcome or assurance of a happy ending.

My chemical and environmental sensitivity and chronic illness has pushed me to care about the impact on this to people because so many men, women and children suffer more than me. Drawing from this perspective I learned how to formulate ideas that assure lasting social impact. I did not ask to live life with this challenge and at the same time, this challenge has pushed me to integrate a spiritual practice and take on life in forms that are ordinary but not anything that anyone could teach me.

And I have created my own form of empowerment and remedy:

1.   Formulating a course the redefines network so anyone person can benchmark and define their personal social network and its assets;

2.   Gathering group of women and men  in my life that I can interact with virtually on a daily basis to empower me to overcome the obstacles that I and many of my peers and colleagues face in challenging economy.

3.    Shaping my presentations and coaching  to inspire this change, for which I can speak with passion, credibility and spark engagement between women in local community.

Every person in my sustainable reflective  prayer community knows a variation of challenge. The question remains in taking care for yourself and those you love, how you move from hero, heroine or victim to claim a life of repair and solution with other women to accelerate that change and claim our power?

I regret in 2004 with this alumnae group of  women with Wall Street related careers, we did not follow-up with another meeting to look at these questions.

While articles like what Meghan Casserly wrote for Forbes portray a bright picture for the millennial women, we have millions of other women, who are able to step up to learn a new way that I teach that can empower and accelerate a global economic change that has not been fostered by the traditional institutions and industries where women continue to burn out or wait for a pink slip and then what?

Come to one of my programs or host one for your community through a local “green” incubator.

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Author’s Bio:

Lavinia Weissman is sustainable leadership coach, health advocate, capacity builder, and publisher/editor-in-chief of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com.

For More information on Lavinia’s Coaching, Workshops and Presentations or to obtain an invitation to Monday Circle or Prayer Community Conference,

Contact Adriana Hill  in the US by phone 516.204.6791 or  at mydestinyjourney ampersand gmail.com.